I don’t know about you but I tend to develop a bit of an extra spring in my step in the weeks that follow the clocks going forward. Brighter evenings have returned offering you more time for an early evening stroll around our beautiful borough, or perhaps a walk past some of its famous landmarks, or a chance to see trees, shrubs and flowers begin to come into bloom in our award-winning parks.
Something else you will spot in a few of our parks, and on one of our estates, is an outdoor gym. Now, from a distance these gyms may do a passable impression of a trendy art installation, but trust me, they are there to help you work off a few calories, tone your muscles and keep in shape.
There’s some impressive sounding kit involved. In Holland Park for instance you will find ‘Body Twisters’ and ‘Roller Back Massages’ next to ‘Parallel Bars’ and ‘Leg Presses’ all free to use and designed for people of all abilities to have a go.
Two more outdoor gyms can be found in Tavistock Gardens and Little Wormwood Scrubs. We have also recently measured and marked out courses in Emslie Hornimans Pleasance (300m), Holland Park (600m) and Little Wormwood Scrubs (1km) for people wanting to increase their fitness and enjoy the parks at the same time. If you fancy something more structured and organised our Sports Development Team run a Fitness Walk on Mondays in Holland Park from 12.30pm to 1.15pm and a Health Walk on Thursdays, also in Holland Park, from 10.30am to 11.30am.
While I’ve been banging the drum for the outdoor workout I wouldn’t want to dissuade anyone from using the marvellous indoor gyms and swimming pools at the Kensington Leisure Centre or Chelsea Sports Centre. These are both excellent facilities that really do offer something for everyone.
I realise however that some people are reluctant to cross the threshold of a gym or leisure centre for a multitude of reasons. These can range from simple economic considerations – i.e. it costs money you might not have. Or it could be that you’re just not into memberships, or that perceptions, often false in my experience, of sports centres full of lycra-clad Adonis’s put some off. Well, if any of these apply to you then please give our outdoor gyms some consideration. They are free and there for use all day and into the ever lengthening evenings.
And it’s not just in our parks that you’ll find outdoor gyms. The Kensington and Chelsea Tenants’ Management Organisation recently installed one in Chelsea on the St Thomas More Estate, so there’s no excuse for remaining a summer coach potato.